- Amanda Snyder
- Modulation of Cerebral Blood Perfusion in Aged Mice
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
My research interests include using techniques in neuroscience to determine how diet can influence the brain, and I am currently focusing on the role of cocoa flavanols in preventing age-related declines in cerebral blood flow.
Cocoa-derived flavanols, and in particular (-)-epicatechin, have been extensively shown to exert beneficial effects on vascular function in humans. More recently, there has been a growing interest in understanding to what extent such beneficial vascular effects in the periphery might benefit the central nervous system and further impact cognitive function, particularly in aging. In the present study, we examined the long-term impact (6 months) of oral supplementation with either i) cocoa-flavanols or ii) pure (-)-epicatechin on cerebral blood perfusion as assessed by 99m-Tc-HMPAO Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), in an aged mice model (16 to 22 months old). Preliminary data suggests that long-term chronic supplementation (6 months) with cocoa is more effective at maintaining cerebral blood perfusion in aging (parallel design, n=8; age x treatment effect: p=0.019), than pure (-) -epicatechin when delivered at equivalent doses. We are currently examining the effects of the dietary interventions on specific regions across the brain to identify the areas which were significantly affected by flavanol supplementation. Furthermore, we have observed that changes in blood perfusion are unlikely to be mediated by increases in density of blood vessels, as shown by our preliminary data depicting no differences in density of blood vessels across the hippocampal formation. Collectively, these data support a positive modulation of cerebral blood perfusion by cocoa flavanols and may have the potential to counteract age-associated decreases in brain health and cognition.
As one of the recipient's of OUR's Research Support Grant (2016), the results of Amanda's research can be found here.